Examination of chlorin-bacteriochlorin energy-transfer dyads as prototypes for near-infrared molecular imaging probes

Hooi Ling Kee, Ralph Nothdurft, Chinnasamy Muthiah, James R. Diers, Dazhong Fan, Marcin Ptaszek, David F. Bocian, Jonathan S. Lindsey, Joseph P. Culver, Dewey Holten

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New classes of synthetic chlorin and bacteriochlorin macrocycles are characterized by narrow spectral widths, tunable absorption and fluorescence features across the red and near-infrared (NIR) regions, tunable excited-state lifetimes (<1 to >10 ns) and chemical stability. Such properties make dyad constructs based on synthetic chlorin and bacteriochlorin units intriguing candidates for the development of NIR molecular imaging probes. In this study, two such dyads (FbC-FbB and ZnC-FbB) were investigated. The dyads contain either a free base (Fb) or zinc (Zn) chlorin (C) as the energy donor and a free base bacteriochlorin (B) as the energy acceptor. In both constructs, energy transfer from the chlorin to bacteriochlorin occurs with a rate constant of ∼(5 ps)-1 and a yield of >99%. Thus, each dyad effectively behaves as a single chromophore with an exceptionally large Stokes shift (85 nm for FbC-FbB and 110 nm for ZnC-FbB) between the red-region absorption of the chlorin and the NIR fluorescence of the bacteriochlorin (λf = 760 nm, Φf = 0.19, τ ∼ 5.5 ns in toluene). The long-wavelength transitions (absorption, emission) of each constituent of each dyad exhibit narrow (≤20 nm) spectral widths. The narrow spectral widths enabled excellent selectivity in excitation and detection of one chlorin-bacteriochlorin energy-transfer dyad in the presence of the other upon diffuse optical tomography of solution-phase phantoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1072
Number of pages12
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


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